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Fosston’s Firefly Center to host grand opening for Alluma, a mental health services provider, next month – Grand Forks Herald

Fosston’s Firefly Center to host grand opening for Alluma, a mental health services provider, next month – Grand Forks Herald


FOSSTON, Minn. — Four years of work to bring mental health and substance use disorder services provider Alluma to Fosston is nearing its finish with the grand opening of Alluma’s clinic in the Firefly Center for Art and Wellbeing in July.

Heidi Danos, the interim director for Firefly, said she could not be more thrilled about the opening.

“It has been a long time coming,” she said. “It is a super needed service to have Alluma here in Fosston.”

The grand opening will be held 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 24 at the Firefly Center, located at 102 S. Kaiser Avenue in Fosston. Refreshments like yogurt parfaits and root beer floats will be served. Alluma’s 1,200 square feet of office space will be located at the end of the art gallery, which sits at the front of the building. The Firefly Center, besides hosting Alluma as a renter, is also focused on an arts and culture mindset, Danos said.

Though the grand opening isn’t until July, Alluma is already offering services in the building as of Wednesday, June 26, she said. It is on a limited basis, with around two to three professional providers available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and an intake person will be available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Michelle Van Camp, Alluma’s chief marketing and communication officer, said the clinic will start with mental health services like psychotherapy and family therapy for the soft open. As it settles in, it will also provide medication management, psychiatric care and, later on, substance use disorder services and treatment. There are also Alluma services that aren’t focused in the office, like the homeless team and skills building providers, focusing on adult rehabilitation mental health services.

The beginning of the Firefly Center, Danos said, began in 2019 when she and a few other members of a local arts and culture commission heard that Alluma, which serves the northwest region of Minnesota, was looking for a permanent spot in Fosston. Immediately, her small group saw an opportunity.

“I’m pretty sure I saw all the lightbulbs go on above everybody’s heads at that very moment,” she said.

They contacted Alluma and got to work on what would become the Firefly Center. Danos said she wanted a core focus to be reducing the stigma involved in getting mental health care. She also wanted the center to be accessible and comfortable for everyone. Part of accomplishing that included creating the art gallery, which people can just go hang out in, she said. The “Firefly part” of the building, while still under construction, will focus on art as well, with multi-use spaces for art events, classes and other things both in the realm of art and wellbeing. Some events are already happening, such as a monthly talking circle.

“We are also the type of people that recognize the therapeutic power that art has, regardless of whether that is painting, dancing, theater, whatever,” she said. “And so that’s where we decided to tie it all in.”

There are also two apartments being constructed in the center, both to help financially sustain it and provide some housing, which is a need in the area, she said.

Van Camp said Alluma is always working to find ways to be part of a community, though it can be difficult financially to operate in rural areas, as well as finding places where Alluma’s services will have the most impact. She is thankful to Firefly and the city of Fosston for their openness, she said, and wishes she had a place like the Firefly Center growing up.

“It’s so exciting,” she said. “I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.”

The community feedback Firefly members have gotten so far already shows that the center and Alluma’s presence will be welcomed, Danos said. Fosston is a hub in the region for health care, serving not just the city itself but the surrounding area, but has been lacking in mental health care, she said. Those who have heard about the project, even before the building began construction, opened up about struggles either they faced or that family members and friends were facing. Danos said she was amazed that Firefly was already doing its job of helping people talk about their issues, even without a physical presence.

“Fosston has been very devoid of these services,” she said. “We could not be more thrilled that (Alluma) is finally opening their doors.”

More information about the Firefly Center can be found on its official site,

https://www.fireflycenter.org/

. More information about Alluma can be found on its site,

https://allumacares.org/

.

Firefly Center (30 × 20 in) - 2

A digital image of what the outside facade of the Firefly Center is planned to look like.

Contributed / Heidi Danos





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